Dramat Head Rigger

Head Rigger

In addition to oversight of the fly system for a production, the Head Rigger is responsible for planning and loading/rigging the system for the production. Once the set design drawings are available the Head Rigger should spend time becoming familiar with the design and all its elements, so to be fully aware of what the rigging crew will be expected to accomplish. They should also be assembling a crew. It is crucial that all members of the crew are approved for the use of the fly system and the genie lift, so time can be spent getting that training if it hasn’t been done. All this is done in coordination with the Production Officer and UP Technical Advisor (TA).

A Head Rigger and an assistant will be required on any production taking place in the UT that requires the hanging of any significant amount of soft goods and/or the rigging of any scenic elements to system pipes, regardless of whether they are moved during the performance. The Head Rigger will be responsible for identifying flown elements and soft goods, determining the correct amount of counterweight that each element will require and reviewing such with TA prior to load-in, keeping an accurate record of weights, and ensuring that such information is added to the Dramat’s soft goods inventory information. They will be responsible for ensuring that each line set is accurately labeled on the locking railas it is rigged and weighted. The Head Rigger and the assistant, under the supervision of the Technical Advisor, will be responsible for leading the crew that will rig elements to the system and set the weights during load-in and strike. Under no circumstances shall any element be rigged or modified without the direct supervision of the Technical Advisor.

Mainstage Productions

Head Riggers will be required to have attended the Basic Rigging /Fly System Workshops and to have demonstrated a complete working knowledge of the material covered. They should have served as assistant to the Head Rigger on at least one previous main stage production. They will also have a working knowledge of the genie lift.

Asst. Riggers will be required to have attended the Basic Rigging/Fly System Workshops and to have demonstrated a complete working knowledge of the material covered. It is preferred that they will have worked fly crew on at least one previous show.

Six Weeks Out

Secure a copy of the complete set of design plans, including ground plan, sections, and elevations.

Working with the TD, familiarize yourself with all set elements.

Estimate the number of crew required to execute required tasks.

Attend production meetings to keep current with design concerns as they develop.

Review plans with TA, review planning requirements and identify tasks/issues.

Assemble crew. Arrange for any training (fly system, genie) as needed.

Five Weeks Out

Begin to determine that lineset assignments are adequate to accommodate flown elements.

Bring any conflicts/space issues to the attention of the designers and the producer.

Determine if any special rigging requirements exist. Consult with the TA.

Four Weeks Out

Confirm that crew is adequate to the task.

Confirm that any additional training required has been scheduled.

Work with TA to plan any special rigging needed.

Begin to plan the counterweight requirements for each flown element with the TD and TA.

Confirm production soft good requirements/availability with the YSD soft goods inventory.

Three Weeks Out

Plan to acquire a copy of the light plot when it arrives and confirm position of electrics. Notify appropriate staff of any conflicts and follow through to resolution.

Confirm that staff training has taken place and TA has approved that staff.

Review shop built elements that are to be flown with TD and TA for hardware placement, weight, etc.

Develop list of hardware requirements and confirm availability of required hardware inventory.

Place an order for any hardware not available from inventory.

Two Weeks Out

Complete any arrangements for special rigging needs.

Complete the list of counterweight requirements for all flown elements.

Continue to monitor shop built pieces as they are completed and add to counterweight list.

One Week Out

Lineset weight estimates and worksheets should be complete, with a worksheet for each element.

Check load-in supplies (gaff tape, markers, tie line, etc.).

Collect all hardware and rigging materials.

Prep any cable/rigging elements as possible.

Confirm with TD that all rigging hardware has been correctly installed in built scenic elements.

Consult with TD to plan your “ideal” order of priority for load-in work.

Attend load-in planning meeting prepared to modify your “ideal” order.

Review list of weight estimates and worksheets with TA.


Give an overview of the fly system load-in process to crew.

Be sure that crew is aware of general safety guidelines as well as any issues specific to current production.

Coordinate fly crew work with other crews that may be in the production space.

Work with the ME and TA to coordinate weighting and flying electrics battens as needed.

Coordinate the rigging of any additional pipes, special rigging, etc with the TA.

Oversee crew work; be sure all crewmembers adhere to all safety practices.

Coordinate all weight rail work with TA and TD.

Update weight estimates list with final actual weights as work progresses.

Label Locking Rail as work progresses.

Monitor progress of crew work in relation to projected schedule.

Be sure the stage is cleaned completely by end of each work call.

Equipment that needs to stay on stage between work calls must be left in an orderly, secure fashion.

Discuss any load-in problems/delays with the Producer and other staff as needed/appropriate.

Inspect all work with the TA as it is completed and test all moving elements.

Inform the Producer when work is complete.

Technical Rehearsals

Do walk-though with Stage Mgr to familiarize them with all elements of the installation.

Work with the Stage Mgr, TD, and TA to integrate all flown elements into the rehearsals as needed.

Make note of any adjustments that may be required.

Fly Note Calls

Call work sessions as needed to make required adjustments.

Supervise all work as during load-in.

Notify the Producer when work is complete.

When work is complete be sure to add final line-set weight amounts for stock items to counterweight list maintained in Dramat records. Turn in all weight lists with final actual weights to TA.


Attend strike meeting to coordinate load-out process.

Coordinate fly crew work with other crew heads.

Pay special attention to all safety concerns.

Be sure that all line-sets are returned to correct pipe weight.

Be sure that all labeling is removed from locking rail and all spike tapes are removed from operating lines.

Work with Production Officer to ensure adherence to all guidelines for return of equipment.

Coordinate with the Stage Mgr and Production Officer to ensure that all production spaces are clean and orderly.